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"The HUB" Vol. XX, No. 6
Bimonthly newsletter of November-December 1999


December 4, 1999, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Edinboro Borough Building, Edinboro, PA


Many of our members have travelled abroad this year - to Africa, Turkey, Peru, Britain, and other exotic locales. In the December program, our world travellers will share their stories and show off their fiber souvenirs. Anyone with an "international" fiber treasure is encouraged to bring it for Show-and-Tell! After the program, we will have a potluck lunch. Bring your favorite international dish to share! We will also have a gift exchange. It you want to participate, please bring a fiber-related gift priced under $5.00 (it does not have to be hand-made). Karen Fry has promised to distribute the gifts in a fun and unique way. Finally, we will also collect hats, mittens, and gloves (store-bought are fine) to donate to the Salvation Army. Come celebrate at this year's Holiday Party, hear tales of strange lands and foreign lambs, and enjoy good cheer and good company!


Board Meeting, all welcome 9:00
Coffee, conversation 9:30
General Meeting 10:00



To make next year's Fiber Festival a success, we need to start thinking now about where we want to go with it. Please fill out this survey to contribute your ideas and return it to Bonnie Crytzer by mail or email.



Treasurer's report:

Checking balance: $1178.16
Savings balance: $1480.94


We discussed this year's Fiber Festival and plans for next year's. We decided to run a survey in the next Hub to ask for opinions and suggestions for next year's festival. It was suggested that there be a job sign-up sheet earlier in the year to divide up the responsibility for pre-event jobs like publicity, signs and maps, and vendor coordination. This would reduce the amount of work for any one person. It was also suggested that the Secretary write thank-you letters to the Fiberfest teachers and to the Butler and Mercer Guilds for their efforts.

We decided to revive the tradition of the Guild Service Award. The Award will be announced in next year's March-April Hub, and voting will take place at the April meeting. The Guild member voted to be most deserving of the Service Award will be presented with the award at the June meeting.

Miscellaneous business: It was noted that the "back page" of the Hub may need updating again; Barb Lodge will check on one of the entries. We decided to renew the Guild membership in the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association (MAFA). Barb Lodge and Joyce Rose agreed to serve as our representatives. We considered what to do with handspun silk yarns leftover from a Guild project. We agreed that, if a spinner recognizes her own yarn, she may claim it; any remaining yarns will be put in the Guild raffle. It was announced that nine Interweave Press magazine subscription commitments had been made in addition to five earlier ones. If we can add one more subscription, the Guild will receive three free subscriptions to Interweave magazines.

Barb Lodge reported on the Bobbie Irwin workshop to be held on April 15-17 (Saturday through Monday) next year. The enrollment limit will be 20, and the cost will be $60 plus a $5 materials fee. A deposit of $20 is due by February 1 to reserve a place in the class. The April Guild meeting will be held on the evening of Saturday, April 15th, and the program will be a lecture by Bobbie Irwin. A drawing for the Guild scholarship to the workshop will be held at the December meeting.

The program for the December meeting was described. This year, the annual Holiday Party will have an international theme. Our many members who have traveled abroad this year will describe their adventures and show their fiber souvenirs. We will have a potluck lunch, and members are encouraged to bring international foods for us to sample. There will also be a gift exchange and a collection of items to be donated to the Salvation Army.

[Thanks to Barb Lodge for her notes on the meeting. Ed.]


The Tuesday Spinning group continues to meet the third Tuesday of the month at Christ Episcopal Church on Diamond Park in Meadville, 10 am - 2 pm. The next meeting will be on November 16. As always, all are welcome to attend, with beginners especially encouraged. Bring a project, a wheel or handspindle, and a bag lunch. Beverages are provided; bring a treat to share if you wish.


We are planning a workshop with Bobbie Irwin for April 15-17 (Sat. though Mon.), 2000. The workshop is suitable for all members - new and old, spinner and weaver. Using a simple frame loom, we will learn an almost-forgotten technique for making extremely durable and beautiful rugs. We'll explore several warping and patterning techniques while we work on potholder-sized samples. Making these small samples will give us the expertise to make full-sized rugs later. Each participant will work at his/her own pace to complete 2-5 samples. The sample frames and your first warp will be provided by Bobbie at a cost of $5 per person. We have been awarded a grant from PPA and are therefore able to offer this workshop at $60 per person.

Up until February 1, registration is open to members of the NW Guild only. After February 1, registration is open to all. The final deadline for registration is March 1. A deposit of $20 (payable to NWPSWG) is required at the time of registration.

Bobbie will also be presenting an evening lecture entitled, "An Ode to Woad" on Saturday, April 15. Her talk will be an introduction to the history and techniques of using one of the world's oldest dyeplants and the first commercial source of indigo. She will show samples of the many shades of blue, plus a virtual spectrum of other colors obtainable from this versatile plant using only alum as a mordant.

This project is made possible by a grant from PA Partners in the Arts (PPA), a local decision-making program of the PA Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Venango Center for Creative Development.

-Barb Lodge


Facts and Figures: Manx Loghtan ewes can weigh up to 90 pounds. The sheep are double coated; the micron count is 33 for the hair fibers and 27 for the downy undercoat. The staple length is 2 ½ to 4 inches.

History: The Manx Loghtan belongs to the group of multi-horned breeds which formerly inhabited many parts of Great Britain, including the hills of the Isle of Man. The breed is part of the group of short-tailed "prehistoric" sheep of Northern Europe. Until the 19th century, there were numerous Manx sheep of all colors. The "Loghtan" (Manx for "mousy brown") color was rare, but highly prized. Not only was the color itself prized, but the wool was of better and softer quality and was used for cloth and knitwear.

The 19th century saw massive imports of "improved" mainland breeds, particularly the Southdown, but also including hill breeds. These imports threatened to swamp the older breeds. A farmer named Robert Quirke took an interest in the breed. He was rather eccentric and used to plough with a horse and heifer, believing the old ways were always best! In 1895, Caesar Bacon, a gentleman, Master of the Hunt, and noted breeder of Shorthorns and Southdowns, took up the old breed in the nick of time. He selected for the Loghtan color exclusively. His annual sales helped to create more interest in the breed, but the numbers were still low. At his death in 1916, there were only 24 ewes in his flocks with a few other small flocks mostly on the island. With help of others, the breed hung on after Bacon's death, and eventually a flock was established by the Manx Museum on the Calf island near the Isle of Man. When Britain's Rare Breeds Survival Trust was formed in 1975, there were flocks at the Whipsnade Zoo and the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh. These were amalgamated and brought under the umbrella of the Combined Flock Book.

There are now flocks of Manx Loghtans all over Britain. The breed was recognized as a distinct type early in the 19th century, when it was recognized as one of the smallest British breeds, averaging about 20 lbs deadweight*, though this was probably because they were restricted to the poorer hilltops. When brought onto better land, they increased in size, and mature ewes can weigh up to 90 pounds.

Sheep Characteristics. The face and legs are brown, but this varies from fawn to dark brown. The word Loghtan is derived from the Manx words "lugh" (mouse) and "dhoan" (brown), and breeders on the Isle of Man do not allow any white markings. . Manx Loghtans should be uniformly brown with the tips becoming bleached by the sun. They stand upright on short legs and the rams have very big horns (the ewes less so). These sheep grow up to six horns, but four is the most favored number. They have short tails, and no wool on their faces or legs. Foot rot and flystrike** are very unusual.

The sheep are "easy care" with good mothering abilities. Purebreds are usually kept until 18 months old before being slaughtered - the meat is exceptional. They also make extremely good crossing ewes. The ewes average about a 150 percent lambing rate, but the breed is considerably inbred, so that crossbred progeny exhibit a significant degree of hybrid vigor and make good commercial ewes.

Fleece Characteristics. The wool is moorit (though black and white have also occurred), and the color breeds true. The fleece is short-stapled; the Bradford count is 44-54. It is used mainly for the production of undyed woolens but is also suitable for the manufacture of tweeds. It is very soft and comfortable next to the skin. The average fleece weight is 1.5 - 2 lbs, and the length varies from 2.5 - 4 inches (4" is the extreme end of this; most fleeces seem to be in the Down range, close to 2.5").

Spinning Pointers. A fleece this short would be hard to comb; I*** would card it and spin it woolen-style, long-draw. It's softer than it sounds - in the Romney range, from what I remember. If it is not too vigourously carded, it can retain its light tips. Treated kindly, it will make an extremely soft and bouncy yarm, best used for knitting or weft.

*I'm not sure what "deadweight" means in this context, and I'm not sure I want to. Can these poor sheep really have weighed only 20 pounds?? -Ed.

**I don't know what "flystrike" is, either, though it certainly sounds horrible. -Your unaccountably loquacious Ed.

***The writer in this section is Audra Macmann, one of Roni Rospert's sources.

[This article was originally compiled by the indefatigable Roni Rospert for the newsletter of the Lorain County, OH, Guild. I have edited it for style and length. Also, I think Roni was directly quoting from the sources she used at times, but I couldn't always unravel what came from where and may even have scrambled some of them together in the editing process. -Ed.]


Josephine Banas writes, "It is with great sadness that I must sell all of my weaving equipment due to circumstances beyond my control" (i.e., her eye problems). The equipment includes a union loom with 4 heddles, 6 treadles, a new tensioner, a trunk, a bench, and about 25 boxes of clean material ready for the loom. Josephine also has an organ for sale. If interested, please call or write her.

Dorothy Kloss is selling her Macomber loom (jack-type). It has 4 harnesses (with room for more), 4 treadles, 2 back beams (sectional and non-sectional), and an 8-dent reed. The weaving width is approximately 48", and the asking price is $850. Email Dorothy at, and she can send you a .jpg image of the loom.

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